Good eats

26 04 2011

“ONE IS enough.  Two is too much.  Three is a poison that can kill a person.”  That’s one of the rhymes that my mother would tell us whenever we would try to push our luck in getting our ways.

I got reminded of it once more as I recollect my gastronomic adventure in Singapore.  For specific dishes and places, I think I could o.d. before I get satiation.  I could get to “three is a poison…” easy.

Here they are, in no particular order.  (I forgot the details of the hawker center that Partner brought me to, where I had this amazing Fish Head Curry dish!)

CareShop de Café

70 Bendemeer Road, #01-05 Luzerne

Singapore 339940

Tel: +65 6293 9298

Will go back forMushroom Soba with lots of steamed Japanese Rice

Mushroom Soba, CareShop de Café



Culina Bistro

Blk 8 Dempsey Hill,Dempsey Road#01-13

Singapore 249679

Will go back forDe Cecco Penne Crab Meat (with the penne replaced by angel hair) , and all the complimentary bread rolls I could handle!

De Cecco Capellini Crab Meat, Culina Bistro @ Dempsey Hill


Complimentary Bread, Culina Bistro @ Dempsey Hill



TWG Tea Salon & Boutique on the Bridge

The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

B2-89/89A, 2 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018972

Tel:  +65 6535 1837

Fax: +65 6221 1837

Will go back for1837 Black Tea (tea number T6033), French Onion Soup, and all the complimentary bread rolls I could handle!

1837 Black Tea (tea number T6033), TWG Tea Salon & Boutique on the Bridge


French Onion Soup, TWG Tea Salon & Boutique on the Bridge


Complimentary Bread, TWG Tea Salon & Boutique on the Bridge


Fou de FaFa

168 Robinson Road

#01-05 Capital Tower

Singapore 068912

Tel: +65 6327 9418

Will go back forPizza Fou’d Flewed, and that bluish green drink that’s a concoction of pineapple, grapes, and mint

Pizza Fou'd Flewed, Fou de FaFa


My fave drink, a concoction of pineapple, grapes, and mint, Fou de FaFa


Jumbo Seafood Gallery

20 Upper Circular Road

#B1-44 to 48 The Riverwalk

Tel:  +65 6534 3435

Fax: +65 6536 3836

Will go back forChilli Crab with lots of Deep-Mini Bun, Cold Fresh Barley Juice

Just the apron!, Jumbo Seafood Gallery


Wee Nam Kee

275 Thomson Road #01-05

Will go back forHainanese Chicken Rice, Cold Fresh Barley Juice (which they always run out of!)

Hainanese Chicken Roasted and Steamed, Wee Nam Kee


Hainanese Chicken Rice, Wee Nam Kee


Cold Fresh Barley Juice, Wee Nam Kee


Tung Lok Seafood OC

#11-05 Orchard Central

181 Orchard Road

Singapore 238896

Will go back forBraised Shark’s Fin with Fish Maw Soup, Poached Baby Kai Lan served with Chinchalok

Braised Shark’s Fin with Fish Maw Soup, Tung Lok Seafood


Poached Baby Kai Lan served with Chinchalok, Tung Lok Seafood


Marché at 313@somerset

313@somerset, 313 Orchard Road

Provisional Unit No. #B1-39-45

Singapore 238895

Will go back forMushroom Soup, Calamari, Calamansi Juice with Sour Plum

Mushroom Soup, Marché at 313@somerset


Calamari, Marché at 313@somerset


Calamansi Sour Plum, Marché at 313@somerset


Food Opera at ION Food Hall

Basement 4, ION Orchard

2 Orchard Turn

Singapore 238801

Tel:  +65 6509 9198

Will go back forOyster Omelet (FattyWeng Fried Oysters, #B4-04M), Fishball Mee Kia Noodle Soup (Li Xin Fishball Noodle Soup, #B4-04B)

“FattyWeng Fried Oysters” Oyster Omelet, Food Opera at ION Food Hall


"Li Xin" Fishball Mee Kia Noodle Soup, Food Opera at ION Food Hall


4 FINGeRS Crispy Chicken at ION Food Hall

Basement 4, ION Orchard

2 Orchard Turn, #B4-06A

Singapore 238801

Tel:  +65 4274779

Will go back forChicken Wings

Crispy Chicken Wings, 4 FINGeRS Crispy Chicken at ION Food Hall


Nando’s @ Tanglin Mall

163 Tanglin Road

#01-14/15 Tanglin Mall

Singapore 247933

Tel:  +65 6235 3555

Fax: +65 6235 5581

Will go back forPeri-Peri Chicken, Portugese Rice, Grilled Vegetables

Peri-Peri Chicken, Portugese Rice, and Grilled Vegetables, Nando's @ Tanglin Mall


White Dog Café

No.1 HarbourFront Walk

#02-131/132 Vivo City

Singapore 098585

Tel:  +65 6235 3555

Will go back forLobster Pasta

Lobster Pasta, White Dog Café


Shimbashi Soba

290 Orchard Road

#B1-41 The Paragon

Singapore 238859

Tel: +65 6735 9882

Will go back forGoma Tare Seiro Sesame Soba

Goma Tare Seiro Sesame Soba, Shimbashi Soba


Carousel at Royal Plaza on Scotts

25 Scotts Road

Singapore 228220

Tel:  +65 6589 7788 / +65 6589 7819

Will go back forEVERYTHING in their international buffet

Soon Kueh, Carousel at Royal Plaza on Scotts


Roasted Tomato, Carousel at Royal Plaza on Scotts


Bowl of Noodles, Carousel at Royal Plaza on Scotts


Macarons, Carousel at Royal Plaza on Scotts


Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

Tung Lok Seafood

31 03 2011

Tung Lok Chili Crab

THE DAY of my arrival in Singapore was a special day, the 13th of March being Brother’s birthday.  So dinner had to be special – but within my budget.  I knew I was to channel Rachael Ray circa early 2000’s in the coming couple of weeks (think “$40-a-Day”).

This being my first time ever, I had to rely on my Singapore-based best friends on where to grab something to bite, whether I’d be on the go (the “fast” food places) or I’d have time to lounge around (the “finer” dining haunts).  But for my first dinner, Friendship opted to google.  But not blindly key in a search string.  She had a place in mind.  We just needed the address.

That’s when we found Tung Lok Seafood – “The Singapore Taste” – at nearby Orchard Central.

The taste of Singapore has a lot to offer.  Not even with one foot in the door, I already got so overwhelmed with the themed menus the place categorically laid out on the table by the entrance.  There were menus for tasting, à la carte buffet dinner, à la carte buffet lunch, and even for a wedding.

All five of us decided on the à la carte buffet dinner.  What happened was we were made to select all that we wanted from the said menu.  I repeat – ALL.  It’s like an eat-all-you-can, only that it is managed because the food served will only be those you checked.  So if you would go to Tung Lok, go with a really empty stomach and with pen and menu in hand, just check away!  Though I did notice that three delicacies had limits per person:  The scallops at two pieces, the shark’s fin soup at one serving, and the crabs at 200 grams.  Still I say, at SG$ 38.00++ per head, not bad at all.

And order a lot we did!  These were all the items we checked:  Steamed Half-shell Scallops with Minced Garlic and Vermicelli, Salmon Sashimi, California Maki, Braised Shark’s Fin with Fish Maw Soup, Crispy Fish Skin with Salted Egg Yolk, Crispy Eggplant with Pork Floss, Tung Lok Chili Crab with Mini Buns, Crispy Prawns with Butter and Cereal, Poached Baby Kai Lan served with Chinchalok, Crispy Noodles with Fresh Prawns, Yang Zhou Fried Rice, and Chilled Almond Beancurd with Longan.

Steamed Half-shell Scallops with Minced Garlic and Vermicelli


Salmon Sashimi


California Maki


Braised Shark’s Fin with Fish Maw Soup


Crispy Fish Skin with Salted Egg Yolk


Crispy Eggplant with Pork Floss


Crispy Prawns with Butter and Cereal. The prawns are in ther somewhere.


Oh, here's one!


Poached Baby Kai Lan served with Chinchalok


Crispy Noodles with Fresh Prawns


Chilled Almond Beancurd with Longan

The steamed half-shell scallops were served with both the white adductor muscle and the bright orange roe nestled on the pristine white shell.  Sprinkled with golden brown minced garlic, with sautéed glass noodles tucked in and around, Tung Lok’s rendition was quite the departure from the simplicity of the usual buttered scallops.  I wasn’t crazy about the “coral” (that’s how the roe is more popularly known), but the adductor was just so sweet.

My first of two scallops


I gather that not only the actual scallops, but their shells as well are prized!

Together with the scallops, a couple of other items we ordered from the “Japanese Cold Cuts” section were the salmon sashimi and the California maki.  Tung Lok has all the right to claim that they use only the freshest ingredients because it was quite evident with the salmon they sent to our table.  Bright orange-pink, packed with omega-3 fatty acids and essential oils – it is after all a type of “oily” fish – the salmon was plump, juicy, “marbled” but not sinewy at all.  It was so fresh I had to do away with the dipping sauce on at least a couple of slices just so I could savor all of its freshwater goodness.  The California maki, I did check in honor of my good friend Green Lantern who loves this rice roll so much.

The braised shark’s fin with fish maw soup (“maw” is informal for mouth) was such a pleasant surprise – its gleaming bright yellow color belying just how naturally sweet, creamy and fresh it was as a subtle assault to a palate so used to “just add one egg” soup mixes.  Comparison to off-the-shelf concoctions may seem no contest so to appreacite just how insanely good this soup was, I have to say that everything else I’ve had before – in restaurants all over parts of the world I’ve been to – seem to pale in comparison.  It was that good.  I was craning my neck ‘round the dinner table to see if anybody didn’t bother with their share so that I could snatch it.  Suffice it to say, I ended up quite a sad boy.  Sad sad boy.

Before the pièce de résistance – the chili crab – arrived, I paced my gastronomic satiation with a forkful here and there of the very crisp poached baby kai lan with chinchalok (dried fermented shrimp) either on its own or taken with heaping spoonfuls of the yang zhou fried rice.  The baby kai lan, which I know to be some variant of brocolli leaves, wasn’t bitter at all.  I find that to be the true test of preparing these leafy greens.

Capping a sumptuous first dinner in Singapore was the chili crab, arguably the only dish in the spread that could lay claim to an authentic Singaporean provenance.  Plated in a wide-mouthed low-rise pristine white bowl, the crab’s caparace perched on top of its partially cracked claws and shells appeared to send the message that it was indeed the crowning glory of a luxurious Singaporean meal.  Bathed generously in a thick sauce of tomato, chili, and – in some recipes – orange juice(!), its already succulent white meat and deep-orange roe got even more infused with flavor.  No self-respecting gourmand faced with this chili crab had to feign propriety with cutlery.  Me, I reached out for the fried mini buns (mantou), began tearing it to pieces, then mopped up the sauce.  The more the sauce dripped all over, the more delicious the meal tasted.  Hahaha!

The chili crab makes it to the table!


The fried mini bun to mop up the sauce with.

After all the mini buns had been wiped out, I scooped myself another generous portion of the yang zhou fried rice, stained it with the chili crab sauce, and ate away.

Yang zhou fried rice stained with chili crab sauce!


One of my many portions of the crispy noodles with fresh prawns

I was with four great friends on this first dinner out and while some of them had moved to pocket discussions towards the meal’s end, punctuated with little scoops of the chilled almond beancurd with longan, I ended up looking in the ceiling wondering really hard where all my concept of moderation went.

I must’ve left all of it at the lift before we pressed “11”.

Tung Lok Seafood in lights


Proudly "The Singapore Taste"!


My best friends Friendship, Partner, and Brother.


Tung Lok has a lot of menus specialized to diners' needs or wants.


I checked California Maki in honor of Green Lantern!


Our order!


Roasted highland legumes... perfect while waiting.


On the escalator to the lift landing. Pressed "11" and we were in (gastronomic) heaven!


Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.